While some of us can only think about how to keep cool when the weather is getting hot, many fitness fans will be wanting to take advantage of the sunshine and work up a sweat outdoors.
Although you can still exercise in hot weather, it does put extra stress on your body and can make your regular workout even tougher.
However, keep some simple advice and precautions in mind and you can still keep your fitness plan going safely throughout the hot days.
Watch the temperature
Check the weather forecasts and heat alerts before your workout so you know what to expect once you head outdoors.
If you’re used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, don’t push yourself too hard when you start exercising in higher temperatures. It can take at least one to two weeks to get used to the heat so give your body time to adjust. As you start to adapt and feel more comfortable, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts.
Know your fitness level
If you’re unfit or new to exercise, take it easy when working out in the heat. Your body will need to get used to both exercise and the heat, and may have a lower tolerance to higher temperatures. Reduce your exercise intensity if needed and take frequent breaks.
Drink plenty of fluids
Dehydration is a one of the main contributors to heat-related illness, so help your body to sweat and cool down by staying well-hydrated with water. And don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink fluids. If you’re exercising to an intense level also think about replacing your bottle of water with a sports drink to replace the sodium, chloride and potassium lost through sweating.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting and breathable clothing to stay cool and help sweat evaporate. Also avoid dark colors, which can absorb heat, and if your workout allows it, think about wearing a hat.
Avoid midday sun
Schedule your workout for the morning or evening when it’s likely to be cooler, and if possible, exercise in shady areas, or do a water workout in a pool.
A sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself, as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer.
Have a backup plan
If you really don’t want to miss a workout but you’re not sure about exercising in the heat, think of ways to workout indoors. Head to the gym, your local indoor swimming pool, or a class in an air-conditioned studio.
Pay attention to the warning signs
Listen to your body and remember to pay attention to warning signs such as muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting and dizziness, and if you have signs of heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. JB